A proposal to change school start times so that schools at each level — elementary, middle and high school — will start at the same time was approved unanimously on Jan. 28 by the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Board of Education. Under the plan, school days will be:
- Elementary schools: 9:15 a.m. to 3:55 p.m.
- Middle schools: 7:47 a.m. to 2:47 p.m.
- High schools: 8 a.m. to 2:36 p.m.
The goal of the new schedule is to ensure students have equal opportunity to participate in after-school activities and provide more opportunities for teachers to collaborate with peers at different schools.
“It’s simply not equitable to have students at one school skipping part of the day to get to an after-school activity or having fewer options simply because they attend one school over another,” said Superintendent Joe Gothard. “Many of the changes we’re implementing are about aligning our schools so all students have the opportunities to learn and grow that they would at any other school in the district.”
The primary changes from the current schedule are:
- Five elementary schools will start later that they currently do (Gideon Pond, Neill, Rahn, Sioux Trail and William Byrne),
- Burnsville High School will start almost 30 minutes later than it does now,
- Eagle Ridge Middle School will start about 40 minutes earlier to match with Nicollet and Metcalf,
- Middle school days will be about 20 minutes longer to accommodate increased learning through an 8-period day,
- Elementary school days will be 15 minutes longer to increase learning and accommodate bus schedules.
The approved plan was created after the District sought out and received feedback from parents and staff members on two earlier proposals. Gothard said the final proposal represented a balance that met the district’s goal of alignment but responded to concerns about extreme changes and potential negative effects on after-school activities.
The approved plan goes into effect for the 2016-17 school year.